remembering my birthing days, now that I have two sets to remember

At this time seven years ago, I had been in labor for quite a long time and still had hours to go. I was at the Women’s Health and Wellness Center, a freestanding birth center, back in North Carolina. I was a graduate student, working on my dissertation, and a younger person in a younger marriage. I was thirteen days, soon to be fourteen days, past my “due date.” But at the time I didn’t give a shit about any of that–about ANY of that–because I was in transition and out of my mind. I didn’t know, at the time, that my body would hang out in that phase of labor for approximately the length of a workday. And a hell of a workday it was!

This feels like the first of Noah’s birthdays when I’m looking back on his birth through a second baby’s birth. When Noah turned six, I had already given birth to another child. But Simon was just two months old at the time: I was still processing and feeling his birth, not really remembering it yet. Now, those two memories are stored in my body and mind in more similar ways. It makes Noah’s birth seem a bit less real, a bit foggier and further away, than mere time explains. It introduces an element of comparison. It also draws the memory closer, in a way, knitting together now and then with the body-reminder of Simon’s more recent emergence.

I remember being safe and supported. I remember hallucinating zucchini. I remember pacing, and locking eyes with Eric, and needing him so very much. I remember being high in a way I’ve never been before or since when labor stopped and life with Noah began.

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